Tuesday, October 22, 2013


As I sat reading, a muted television flickered over my left shoulder. I glance over and notice a commercial that shows a tank running over a car on a suburban street. I laugh out loud in amazement at such an awesome sight. The car is crushed, the tank rolls down the street. The next commercial appears without interruption… such that with no visual break or discontinuity of consciousness,  I then see a montage of military images. Jet fighters peel off in formation, a tank rolls up a beach… a landing craft door falls open to reveal the low-angle shot of soldiers running in formation through knee-deep water.

And so it goes, endless. No rest for the weary mind. Transfixed and seduced by the (as Robert Hughes says) the stupidly compelling medium of television.

What struck me in that moment was that I was both amazed by the visual pyrotechnics but also bored by them, with time between amazement and boredom being measure in seconds. One can imagine that in the early years of modernity, the time between amazement and boredom might be measured in a generation. Perhaps what the father found fantastic, the son found commonplace. Post WWII America, with it's accelerating material wealth and consumer culture, brought rates of change that reduced the amazement/boredom cycle to a few years… and then to the year to year changes of car models or the latest fashions. Digital technology has driven this cycle down further, where hardware is obsolete even as you buy it, and software updates itself online immediately upon installation.

We have arrived at a-temporailty. There seems to be no before and after. The temporal sequences are compressed into a timelessness. The theory of parallel universes… so popular in science fiction but implausible in our minds… seems to live daily in the realities of the simpler realities of computers, cell phones, TV commercials, and which pants to buy.

And whereas we can still plant an acorn in the ground and take a step back and take time to watch it grow… to observe causality… to observe nature… to feel the underlying truth to existence… we cannot step back and observe such natural breaks in the ceaseless flow of images and information that make up the tweaked world of manmade existence.

The reasons for this collapse of time and space into the dense black-hole of a-temporal disconnect is probably multi-faceted, but one reason I can think of lies somewhere near the needs of business to increase revenue. The formula might once have been to "sell more", but this logic has changed to "sell more often", or "sell all the time"… or maybe even "selling IS time"…. or "time is selling".

In the end, the old maxim "time is money" is realized in this digital, post-modern world, wherein the superconductive properties of new media have eliminated all resistance in the conduit between the seller and the buyer.

In electrical connections, resistance to the flow of electric current in a piece of wire is an upper limit on the wire itself, beyond which it overheats and the circuit melts down. Electrical systems are forced to employ circuit breakers to protect systems from physical damage. The holy grail of engineering becomes the discovery of materials immune to resistance. Such "superconductive" materials have no limit on their ability to move current.

In new media, the resistance on the conduit is time, which is an upper limit on the capacity of human beings to comprehend information-flows into their mind. If more information is pushed than can be consumed, the system doesn't so much break down, as become worthless. After all, you can always deploy advertising on 10,000 websites, and air television commercials at 4am on a school-night, but if nobody is able to consume them, the effort is a waste.

The limits on new media is the time required by the consumer of information. The holy grail for new media then becomes a superconductive consciousness... one where there is no limit. The old limit was the need to comprehend, which requires time. To take comprehension out of the equation, simply remove time. Compress time and space… future and past…  into an eternal present moment, where no awareness or comprehension is possible, and you have a superconductive consciousness, with no upper limit on what it can consume.

This present moment of consumption has a history, but one that has no distance in the past… an eternal past. This moment has a future, but a future whose features are indistinguishable, in as much as it exists with zero distance from the past. It too is an eternal future. If we consider that the awareness of time is based on an awareness of a before and after point, then the absence of such markers produces the awesome spectacle of timelessness.

So a question arises. How does the human mind exist in timelessness? What are the effects of timeless on consciousness? A million years of evolution have given rise to what we call our conscious mind… a million years of cause and effect, of before and after, of time and space, and time enough between points A and B to consider how they relate to each other, and us to them. Time enough to be aware, to feel, to judge, to understand. What happens when that time and space are collapsed? What becomes of the human when their is not time to be human? We are still here… staring into the TV… staring into the computer. But what are we in those moments?

When I stare at the TV commercials and have a reaction of both amazement and boredom…. where the time between them is so brief as to be negligible… so brief as to call into question that there is even a time lag. Perhaps they are not even separated by seconds. Perhaps my assignment of a brief time lapse is simply my applying conventional notions of time and space to phenomenon outside of time and space. Maybe I need to consider that my awareness of the TV commercial has no before and after… that instead of having two states of awareness… that is.. a state of awareness followed by a state of boredom… perhaps I only have one state. This single state collapses two things into one… it collapses the before and after. It is the atomic unification of "been there and done that". It is the negation of the varieties of life. How it is that I am living and breathing in such moments is a shocking reminder that life drives on in my body, same as it ever was… but that the life of the mind blanks out upon directing ones gaze at the cultural vanishing point of the TV set, or the internet, or whatever next thing comes out of that nexus.

And yet even as the sun sets daily on human intelligence, the undeniable beauty of it's sinking into the sea arrests the attention of onlookers. Celestial bodies are beyond reproach… as is television… as are all forms of mass hysteria.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Right-Wing Christian Mothers

Are right wing, conservative women sexually aroused by thoughts of armed conflict?

Are christian moms of the religious right turned on by the thought of US Troops invading other countries?

Should christian moms dress in dominatrix leather with their breasts protruding be the ones to lead naked Spartan-like marines into battle with nothing but their boots and machine guns?

Should right-wing christian moms lead a solemn procession outside of the city, and beat Obama to death with their placentas?

Should christian moms bath in the blood of infidels and feed on their flesh, while repealing welfare benefits to generations of lazy minorities?

Should right-wing conservative christian moms lead their husbands by their testicles to a secret clearing where they give birth, and watch the children eat the fathers?

Should right-wing christian dads present themselves to the world as flayed spirits in the service of procreation... going where they must to rape and loot and kill... and lay the spoils of war at the pudgy toes of right wing christian moms?

Should right wing christian moms spread their legs as evidence of their divinity... the all seeing eye.

The shell casings of US Marines dance off the tarmac at foreign airports as fire-fights rage for christian moms to squeeze a pillow between their thighs.

Right wing christian mothers of the world... you russian dolls... buried ten layers deep in social sanction... made women... untouchable... moralizing, blood slurping makers of insanity. Shut the fuck up.
Onward christian mothers, marching on to war,  does the cross of Jesus, making up for having been whores.

Then silence fell over the face of deep irrelevance, where right-wing christian mothers slumber through their endless nights.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What I Will

I will write now from the seat of my own authority… my mind.
I will not merge with a paradigm. I will not express myself by way of conformance to a paradigm. I will not measure my humanity relative to the mechanisms created for that purpose. My soul is above all such machines. The mind is fabulous beyond any invention of man or men. That such a thing as the mind can be viewed only as the tool by which one conforms themselves to the blunt instrumentalities of society… that is the death of human potential at the core.

Kneel before this machine if you must, if you will, if you fear the sensation of floating free. If a tether comforts you, if consensus convinces you, if the cubbyhole orders your world forever… then kneel before the machine. But don't take your children with you. Don't tell your friends. Don't spread your disease on facebook, or the water-cooler. Keep it to yourself. Make it your personal shame.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Building a deck

The future of adverstising past

 Isn't it interesting how graphic designers (who no doubt employ digital imaging exclusively) must still symboliz meaning through old technology? I photographed (digitally captured on an iPhone) the following advertising from the side of a parking garage in Atlanta. 
Notice the camera around the neck of the woman in the ad. It's basically a Pentax K1000, complete with it's circa 1982 neck strap. Also notice the small graphic to the left of her shoulder. It's based on a rangefinder camera from the 1970s.

I think the explanation for these choices is not that advertisers are using retro-themes, but rather, that film cameras have a fixed nature and appearance, whereas digital technologies are slippery-sloped toward no particular appearance. Therefore, they present no fixed, physical appearance through which they can be symbolized. It's similar to how E-readers and word-processing icons continue to feature images of books, or pencil points, or old-school metal type... despite the absence of these physical aspects in the digital domain.

What conclusion can be drawn from this? Probably this... that the material aspects of pre-digital technologies is a comfort to the human mind, in that it presents stable, tangible, and visceral things. Given that we're all human beings, physically existing in time and space, complete with fingertips, tasetbuds, eyballs, etc... such physicality connects us strongly to such objects. The non-objecthood of digital substitutes alienates us.

Digital technology exists to simulate physical objects and processes (cameras, books, sketchpads), but the simulation cannot (by it's nature) accomodate materiality. The object and process exists only virtually. The interface is generalized into mouse clicks and touch screen taps. The paradox of the computer is that its material design functions only for it to simulate anything, but that it cannot physically be the thing it simulates.

It's no wonder advertisers show the woman in the picture with an old school camera. How else can you signify photography? If she were holding an iPhone, you wouldn't know what she was up to. Was she taking a picture, listening to music, texting, downloading emails, etc. She could be doing anything. I'm sure in the future that ads will feature iPhones... but in the future, people won't be doing anything in particular. They'll being doing it all, or rather, the digital device will be doing it for them. That's so much easier.